Thursday, 26 November 2015

Everyday #Thanksgiving, Minding your Manners and Selling Etiquette

Thanksgiving should be a daily practise.

 As the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie begin to settle in the stomachs of many Americans today, some stores in the USA will open their doors on Thanksgiving Day, marking the start of the holiday shopping season.

The 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation was where the early Pilgrim Fathers invited the local Native Americans to a harvest feast after a particularly successful growing season.

The previous year's harvests had failed and in the winter of 1620 half of the pilgrims had starved to death.

The local Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, beans and squash; catch fish, and collect seafood.

There are only two contemporary accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving, but it's clear that Turkey was not on the menu so to say. 

But the celebration was most certainly was about giving thanks.

For professional salespeople thanking on just one day is perhaps missing the point.

Thanking, being grateful, thankfulness to our customer is based on  the attitude of gratitude, thanks, appreciation, and recognition, giving credit and meriting them. This should  be a daily practise not just once a year.

As more sales professionals are being hired based on company culture fit and the quality of your communication skills, you can’t really afford to display ill manners or ingratitude. 

   Whether you’re trying to complete a great deal or finally nail that promotion, your manners matter much more than you might think.  Thanks -giving should be hard wired into your commercial DNA

Part of the Professional Salesperson’s make up is that of the face to face ambassador of the company they represent.

The attitude of gratitude

Unlike conventional office workers your manners are not judged solely in the dedicated work environment. How you conduct yourself in the public space , on client’s premises including the manner you speak to the gate house, in reception,  the shop floor up to the board room.

 Our behaviour is also not merely observed but judged at corporate hospitality events and even at what might be ‘off duty’ events. Even at a Thanksgiving Dinner it could be argued  our diplomatic hat is always on.

Here are 10 business etiquette rules you might care to practise the craft of your diplomatic skills-set on the 364 days other than Thanksgiving.

1       Introduce yourself with your full name. When first meeting a prospect or client, whether in a boardroom or a networking event, always introduce yourself with your full name.

No matter the environment, your objective is to be as memorable as possible. If you only use your first name, your new contact could well later struggle to remember which Hugh or Hayley you were. This is another additional reason why having business cards to hand are always a good idea, no matter the circumstance.

2.  Even how we sit conveys our manners. Much as man-spreading  when sitting on the underground train in London has received a certain notoriety so crossing your legs can be distracting, and even just a little bit too sexy.

3. Don’t overdo your “thanks yous.”  It’s great to be grateful, but you don’t want to be overly thankful.  The image of an obsequious ‘Uriah Heep’ does not portray confident sales professional. Saying too many thank yous in a single conversation can actually work in reverse to your meaning, diluting the impact of your initial thanks. It can also work to make you come off as needy and unsure of yourself. 

4. If you are working at a desk at the office, particularly in an open plan office, eat your lunch in the kitchen or outside. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at work and decide you don’t even have 20 minutes to eat lunch.  Instead, you end up eating lunch hunched over your desk glued to the screen looking at quotes, proposals and spreadsheets.

 Think of your co-workers. Most of your co-workers don’t want to hear you crunching lettuce or smell your reheated leftovers. Take the time out of your day to eat lunch in the kitchen or common areas, even if it means taking only a short lunch. Your co-workers, and your stomach, will thank you.

5. Always pick up the tab if you did the inviting. If you invited clients or co-workers out to dinner, don’t look for contributions when the bill comes. If you were the host of the evening, proper etiquette dictates it’s your turn to pay the bill.

6.  The vice of your devices Keep personal items off the table. Today, we’re all very attached to our smart phones…maybe a little too attached. Many of us will place our smart phone right beside us when dining, like an uninvited dinner guest.  Should you have to take a call , apologise and take the call away from the table. Having your smart phone can be like having  an uninvited guest. In fact, smart phones are great for sharing more than pictures and status updates, they’re also great for sharing bacteria.

7. Don’t ask an overwhelming amount of questions in meetings. When you go to a meeting, it’s always good to come with a few questions prepared. The keyword here is “a few.” You don’t want to overwhelm the meeting host or overtake the meeting agenda by asking a barrage of 20 questions.  You are not a news anchor . Choose your most important questions and wait until the end of the meeting to ask. If you leave with more questions, you can always ask later over email .

8. Don’t just drop in to a client’s premises. Avoid the captain 'cup-a-call' demeanour. “Hey Tony, I was in the area, thought I’d just pop in to have a chat about...” Tony maybe too uncomfortable to immediately to shoo you away. By dropping in unannounced, you assume you have the right to interrupt a client’s time. Instead of just shambling in whenever you please, take a few minutes to call or email and set up a time to talk.

9. Avoid Mark Anthony  “Friends Romans and Countrymen” speeches: Use the reply all function on email with great care. Reply to all on emails only when it’s necessary. The “reply all” function can be dangerous. But if you forget to use it when needed, you’re creating a lot of extra, unnecessary work for others

10.  Reduce the chain gang: Before starting an email chain, make sure everyone involved needs to be kept in the loop on all work. If someone on the chain might not appreciate a barrage of emails, leave them off and only send updates when necessary. Update email thread respondents on email chains. Remove people from email threads who don’t need to be there. On the other hand, there’s nothing more annoying than getting stuck on an email thread when you’re not needed. You come back from lunch and suddenly your in-box is overflowing, except none of the emails are relevant to your work at all.

Proper business etiquette can help you move up the ladder by endearing you to your bosses and colleagues. Keeping an eye on proper manners can do more for your career than you might think.

Related Links:

5 Key actions of authentic selling

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